10 of the most iconic movie cars of all time
From the invention of the camera, the automobile has been involved in cinema. Well-established franchises like fast furious films to unique productions like baby driverthe car was seen everywhere – even in movies that had nothing to do with cars.
Throughout the last century, certain iconic cars have appeared on the big screen and garnered cult followings in gearing circles. The Batmobile of various Batman films, the Mystery Machine of scooby-doo movies, and the fabulously pink FAB-1 owned by Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds everything comes to mind – which makes one wonder if it’s “the car makes the movie” or the other way around.
From productions with lots of automotive screen time to movies in which cars play only minor but eye-catching roles, here are 10 of the most iconic cars ever featured in movies.
ten Volkswagen Beetle – Herbie Movies
Herbie is everyone’s favorite sentient Volkswagen Beetle. There isn’t really a proper explanation as to why a Ladybug became conscious and took off running – other than a non-canon scenario where a photo of a doctor’s deceased wife fell into a tank of molten metal – but that doesn’t really matter.
The VW Beetle is one of the most beloved cars ever created, leading to one of the longest production runs of any model. The Beetle, also called VW Type 1, was produced from 1938 to 2003, with an impressive 21 million units built. The success of the Beetle is due to its simplicity and versatility, its most popular conversion being the Meyers Manx, better known as the “beach buggy”.
9 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Sentinel – ghost hunters
The Cadillac Miller-Meteor Sentinel is a massive wagon built on top of the Cadillac Series 62 platform. The Meteor was designed as an ambulance by the Meteor Motor Car Company, a subsidiary of Wayne Corporation (not Batman).
The Miller-Meteor Sentinel was chosen as the basis for ECTO-1 – the ghost hunters’ mobile ghost-catching vehicle. The ECTO-1 was used for the original Ghostbusters movies, as well as the 2021 sequel. It’s probably the most famous wagon in cinema and recognizable everywhere, thanks to the ghost hunters logo on the side.
8 Toyota Supra– The fast and the furious
The Toyota Supra is a well-known car in its own right, due to the transmission’s almost endless adjustability and the incredible engineering of the 2JZ engine. He got more attention when he was used as Brian’s car in the original fast furious film – in front of Dom’s black loader.
Since then, the Supra has been one of the most popular Japanese cars ever produced, with the chances of finding one for sale diminishing day by day. Some owners have built replicas of the famous orange Supra, while many others opt for their own designs. This is not a difficult task, thanks to the almost endless spare parts available.
7 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – Smokey and the bandit
The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is an American super muscle car. He was made even cooler after starring alongside Burt Reynolds in the Smokey and the bandit movies. The paint scheme chosen was classic black with a gold firebird on the hood – a livery known as the “screaming chicken” which is still famous today.
While the Firebird was a great car, it unfortunately lacked performance in the second Smoky film, due to the ongoing US oil crisis. This led to the huge 6.6 liter V8 producing less than 190 bhp. The stunt team had to inject nitrous oxide into the engine just to get the desired performance for the chase scenes. Nevertheless, the Trans Am is one of the greatest muscle cars ever created.
6 Ferrari 250 GT California – Ferris Bueller’s day off
The Ferrari 250 GT California was designed with California’s coastal highways and beachfront promenades in mind. It was based on the nearly endless Ferrari 250 platform – of which there are many variations – and sold quite well to some famous people of the day.
The 250 GT Cali was also the car chosen to feature in the film as Cameron’s father’s favorite classic car, Ferris Bueller’s day off. After a drive around town – and a few valets – the trio attempt to erase all traces of their driving, after which the car meets an unexpected end via the defenestration. Fortunately, the car used in the film was a replica built especially for her and not a real 250 GT California. Yet this replica sold for more than a new Ferrari at auction.
5 Ford Falcon Interceptor – madmax
Mad Max’s Interceptor is one of the most famous cars in movie history. It was based on the Australian Ford Falcon XB GT and received several modifications over the course of the films. The car has also featured in many video games such as madmax in 2015 to coincide with the road of fury movie the same year.
Unfortunately for anyone wishing to recreate an Interceptor, getting hold of an original Ford XB Falcon has proven quite difficult – even for filmmakers – and they come at a hefty price tag. Still, the Interceptor is everyone’s favorite choice for a post-apocalyptic runabout.
4 Lotus Esprit S1 – The Spy Who Loved Me
The Lotus Esprit S1 is an iconic car in its own right. Although the story behind how it became James Bond’s spy car is fascinating. Apparently, Lotus parked its new Esprit outside the production studios after Aston Martin refused to loan the filmmakers a car. The production team saw the car and immediately wanted it for the movie.
Besides the Spirit’s ability to transform into a submarine and fire missiles and torpedoes, the best part of the whole car was when James Bond drove the car out of the water on a French beach. The look on Roger Moore’s face was priceless.
3 Ford Mustang Fastback – Bullit
The Ford Mustang is the most popular muscle car in existence. Popularity was boosted by publicity when the Mustang Fastback was chosen for the 1968 film, Bullit. Thanks to an impressive chase scene between the green Mustang and a black Dodge Charger, the former has become one of the most iconic cars in movie history.
In 2018, mechanics at Gas Monkey Garage recreated the chase scene with a specially built Mustang Fastback to commemorate the film’s 50th anniversary. Ford themselves also produced special “Bullitt” versions of their Mustangs, with the latest edition being the most successful.
2 DeLorean DMC-12 – Back to the future
The DeLorean DMC-12 is an awesome car. It was a mix of retro-futurism and was one of the few concept cars to actually go into production. The car had a terrible V6 engine, and it was horrible to drive, but none of that mattered because it was the car chosen for the Back to the future film series.
Obviously, for the movies, the car was heavily modified to fit Doc Brown’s science additions. The cars were further modified for each subsequent film until they were destroyed by a train at the end of the third film. The DeLorean Time-Machine is one of the most popular modifications made to private DMC-12s, however, there are many other modifications available.
1 Aston Martin DB5 – james bond Movies
The Aston Martin DB5 is probably the most iconic movie car of them all. It was James Bond’s main spy car in the 1960s and 1970s and later became said British agent’s hobby car in several later films. Overall the DB5 has been featured in 9 James Bond films and the original cannonball race (1981), driven by none other than Roger Moore.
The DB5 is also one of the finest classic cars ever made, packing a performance punch in the form of a 4.0-litre inline-6 producing 325bhp and 288lb-ft of torque. Obviously the cars used in the movies were heavily modified to survive all the stunts.
Here are the 10 most iconic cars from the James Bond franchise
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